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A Carrot-y Interview! Catriona Ross on Richard Mason and The Lighted Rooms

The Lighted RoomsRichard Mason and Guest In a recent piece on Richard Mason which can’t quite decide whether it is an interview or a review, Catriona Ross presents us with the almost inevitable carrot.

Her article delves into the life of the writer, but also acts as a review of his latest work, The Lighted Rooms. Call it a carrot-y interview? Either way, Ross is full of good, healthy, things to say about Mason’s new novel, describing it positively right off the bat in the title of her piece, “Bringing light to dark places”.

This title, however, also refers to the difficult life Mason has had as a writer, from premature fame in his late teens to the daily trials of living with bipolar disorder. Ross gives evidence that, with the release of The Lighted Rooms things are looking up for Mason, who has managed to find ways of adding stability to his life. He is now more at peace in calling himself a “novelist”:

There are unexpected benefits to ageing, Richard Mason has discovered. At 30, the international bestselling author wryly notes that journalists no longer describe him as a “young man” — an interesting shift for an author who once traded on his brilliant youth, signing his first novel, The Drowning People, to a publisher as a 19-year-old Oxford student, and selling over a million copies in Germany alone. Yet his early experience of celebrity, with its 14-month publicity tours, daily media engagements and hard- hitting reviews, left him drained and depressed. “It kind of got too much for me. I have an image of myself in a very expensive hotel in Rome, with 400 people waiting for me outside, then dinner with the president of Italy, and myself in floods of tears because I just wanted to be alone.”

Despite the debut novel’s success, some critics slated it, including the one who commented, “By the time you’ve read this drivel, you’ll have wished he murdered every other character — and topped himself, too.” “It was a bit close to home, considering I did think about killing myself in my 20s,” Mason muses.

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